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tv   Eyewitness 11PM News  CBS  December 3, 2011 11:00pm-11:35pm EST

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>> reporter: earnest believes justice is on his side. >> keep an open mind. realize there's more than one side to the story. >> reporter: he claims he never had any money problems and that he didn't know about marcy shepherd. >> did you develop a friendship with jocelyn? >> i did. >> reporter: or the journals or that jocelyn was frightened of him. >> in the end, make a decision when you have all the information. >> reporter: the women who stand by wesley earnest believe the evidence against him does not add up. >> a partial fingerprint in a place he called home for over ten years. excuse me, where's the d.n.a.? yes, he committed adultery. okay? being an adulterer does not make him a murderer. >> reporter: do you think wesley is capable of murder? >> no. >> reporter: is there any chance that he's put one over on you, that you've fallen under wesley's spell?
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>> i don't think so. i feel like i'm strong enough to know when someone has pulled the wool over my eyes. >> reporter: jocelyn's father, bill, was now face to face with an alleged murderer who used to be his son-in-law. >> first time in a long time that i had seen wesley was in the courtroom. ( sighs ) i was thinking, "that is the son of a bitch who killed my daughter." >> reporter: if it's not you, do you want to find who did this? >> certainly. >> reporter: were you making an effort to do that? >> i've got the best defense team in the state. >> reporter: the defense won't be easy. the prosecution painted the assistant principal as a manipulative, desperate and greedy man who executed his wife. a few days before her death, earnest borrowed a coworker's pickup truck.
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he was on the highway for hours, they say, driving from chesapeake to jocelyn's home on pine bluff drive. >> by the time he got there, it was dark. wesley earnest either snuck in through an unlocked door or forced his way in when jocelyn was at the door. he had time to run, and he pulled out a .357 and shot her in the back of the head. the evidence is overwhelming. >> reporter: it was wesley earnest, prosecutors say, who cranked up jocelyn's thermostat to 90 degrees to make it appear she had died much earlier in the day. >> i think that wesley earnest not only thinks that he's smarter than everybody else, he believes that he is smarter than everyone else. >> reporter: they insist the note was not a suicide note but a homicide note earnest typed to stage the murder scene. do you think that wesley is capable of writing a fake suicide note?
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>> wesley would never end sentences in prepositions. some of the punctuation in there is wrong. no, he would know how to write a suicide note. >> reporter: and that truck earnest borrowed a few days before jocelyn died? oddly enough, he borrowed it again two weeks after her death. >> he goes to a kramer tire station, speaks to the manager. >> it was a chevy silverado, maroon color. >> appear the next witness, come forward, please. >> reporter: tire store manager rick kuehn remembers that truck and wesley earnest. >> and the gentleman picked the least-expensive tires that we had in that size. i said, "you sure you want to replace those tires?" i said, "i don't see a thing wrong with them." because the tires were almost brand new. he said, "yeah, i don't like those tires. they give me a bad ride. please take them off." >> i can't speak for that tire expert, but all i know is
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wesley, if he thought they were damaged and needed to be changed, he would change them. changing the tires does not make him a murderer. >> reporter: then, on april 1, 2010. >> raise your right hand to be sworn. >> reporter: april fool's day, the star witness, assistant principal wesley earnest would finally tell his side of the story. >> did you learn of jocelyn's death? >> i did. >> reporter: earnest told the jury when he learned of wife jocelyn's death... >> it was devastating. >> reporter: ...and he testified about the weapon found near her body. >> do you recognize whose gun this is? >> yes, sir. it looks like the... yes, sir, i do. >> and tell me who purchased this gun? >> i purchased it. >> reporter: it was a gift, he says, for jocelyn so that she could feel safe. >> did you kill jocelyn earnest? >> no, sir. >> did you return to this area
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on the 19th or the 20th and do anything that caused harm to her in any way? >> no, sir. >> reporter: what was it like watching him testify? >> sometimes it was hard to keep my lunch down. it was very fake, very rehearsed. >> ... was shunning your affection, true? >> "shunning" seems awfully harsh. >> my goal in his cross- examination was to let his real personality emerge. >> reporter: prosecutor randy krantz grilled him about his lies and deceptions. >> you lied to your friends and your coworkers with your marriage, didn't you? you mislead them. >> i was trying to move on. >> reporter: the questioning was heated... >> you misled them, didn't you, mr. earnest? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: ...but earnest seemed to keep his cool. >> are you having difficulty understanding my question? >> no, sir. >> reporter: wesley earnest has a goal of success that he wouldn't allow anyone get in the way of. and we believe that it's his
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frustration over her unwillingness to give him that goose that lays the golden egg was ultimately what killed her. >> reporter: when asked on his whereabouts on the day jocelyn died, wesley testified he left work at 4:00 in the afternoon. >> i considered going to the wrestling match but, because my throat was hurting, i decided to take a nap instead. >> between 4:00 and the next morning, no one can vouch for your whereabouts, can they, mr. earnest? >> i suppose not. >> reporter: prosecutors believe the assistant principal's sore throat story was just one more lie, one more piece of his premeditated murder plot. after ten days of testimony... >> when you have reached your unanimous decision there this case, if you'll knock on the door to let us know. >> reporter: ...the jury would finally get the case.
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are you prepared if the verdict comes back guilty? have you thought about that? >> i have. >> reporter: what do you do? >> stare at the walls in a six- by-eight cell. >> reporter: three hours and 35 minutes of deliberations, and then... >> they do have a verdict. defendant, sir, if you would stand, please. >> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder. >> reporter: assistant principal dr. wesley earnest was guilty of murdering his wife, jocelyn. >> it's like a two-edged sword. i had to feel what his mother must have been feeling. >> reporter: a heartbreaking defeat for earnest's family. he was now a convicted killer. but one month later, while waiting for sentencing... >> it was like we'd been punched in the stomach.
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>> reporter: ...a bombshell that could change wesley earnest's fate. >> a prosecutor has a duty to make sure that justice is done for jocelyn earnest, but also wesley earnest. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation,
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>> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder as charged in the indictment. >> reporter: the guilty verdict was a victory for prosecutors, but it wouldn't last long. a posting on the local newspaper's web site was about to turn this contentious case upside down. >> the posting essentially said that the jurors had read the journals. >> reporter: that they weren't supposed to read. >> that they weren't supposed to read. to whatever extent they had evidentiary value, there was a strong rift that if these journals had been allowed in, it could have created all sorts of issues on appeal that would require to us try the case over. >> reporter: turns out, those journals, jocelyn's handwritten, heartfelt thoughts, had been
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placed in the wrong box and taken to the jury room. >> and it came to my attention that there were media accounts of the journals of jocelyn earnest in the jury room during deliberations. >> reporter: a special hearing was called, and the jury admitted to reading the journals. the jurors said they based their guilty verdict on inadmissible evidence, jocelyn's very own words. >> it made us physically ill. we did not want those journals in for that very reason, and then a simple human error created that situation. >> reporter: the judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial. >> the court order the verdict in this matter is set aside. a new trial is ordered. >> reporter: earnest would get a second chance, and jocelyn's family would have to face their nightmare all over again. >> i think that he's happy to be in the situation where he's no longer convicted of an offense in virginia.
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>> we're disappointed for the jurors, but most of all for the family. we know the judge did the right thing today. >> you have to pick yourself up and realize that life can kick you in the stomach sometimes. but in the back of my mind, there was jocelyn, and we can do it. we can do it for jocelyn. >> reporter: defense attorney joey sanzone believes a new jury will see reasonable doubt. >> nothing is ironclad and nothing is 100% certain in this case. >> reporter: nearly seven months after the first trial, more than two and a half years after jocelyn's death, assistant principal wesley earnest would once again face a jury for the murder of his wife. there were no tv cameras allowed at the second trial. the prosecution focused on the purported suicide note, jocelyn's fear through the
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voices of her friends, her relationship with marcy shepherd, and earnest's debt and deceptive ways. the defense hammered on the unreliability of the fingerprint evidence and earnest's alibi. and once again, the assistant principal, wesley earnest, would take the witness stand. >> the question that i ask him, "isn't it true, mr. earnest, that you will lie and deceive people when it is in your best interest." and even then he eventually conceded, "yes, i will." >> reporter: same judge, new jury. but this time, earnest would be given more leeway to explain his answers, and it seemed the defense was gaining ground. >> we left the courtroom that day, i felt somewhat defeated. >> reporter: did you think "i could be losing this"? >> i felt that personally that i had let down the team. >> reporter: they desperately needed a new approach. prosecutor nantz came up with an idea at 4:15 in the morning. >> a piece of evidence that we
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had sort of set aside throughout the first trial and all the way through the second trial could be a key component to put mr. earnest in a corner that he would have a hard time backing out of. >> reporter: the plan was to confront earnest about a very unusual timeline handwritten by jocelyn, a detailed history of her life she had been keeping as part of her therapy. it was discovered inside her home, and prosecutors were certain wesley earnest had altered it. >> mr. earnest had written entries as if he was jocelyn earnest writing those. he would either have to deny writing that or he would have to admit that he had done this before. he had assumed her identity, just like the killer had in the fake suicide note. >> reporter: jocelyn's mother will never forget the question prosecutor nantz asked her former son-in-law. >> well, if you wrote on the timeline, how did you get in the house to write on it? >> he was looking at the prosecution, and he just kept talking. >> he turns to the jury and, with a smile on his face,
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indicates that she had a broken window on her home and he pantomimes with his hands how he could move that window up and enter into it. >> frankly, i was shocked to, quite frankly, have a "perry mason" moment for the first time in my 15 years of prosecution. >> reporter: could you tell, looking at the jury, that they got it? >> i'm hoping and praying, "please hear every moment of this because he's nailing his own coffin." >> reporter: the second time around would be swift and deliberate. >> when it came time for the verdict, we sat there holding hands and i felt just this peace come over here. i got this, sir, don't worry. it'll work out. >> reporter: once again, wesley earnest was found guilty of first-degree murder. the jury recommended a sentence of life in prison plus three
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years, and the judge agreed. >> i think there's an overwhelming sense of relief. a lot of dedicated people worked very hard to come to this day, and we're glad to see it finally here. >> reporter: all the faces of wesley earnest hardened into one defining image: pale and resigned. still, to his mother, he's a victim. when you look at him now, what do you see? >> i see an innocent man that's behind bars that was convicted by a jury that i feel had preconceived ideas. >> reporter: there's an old photo of earnest, a joke from his days as an assistant principal, that seems like an eerie prediction. the prisoner for a day is now locked away for life.
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>> wesley earnest is a killer. he's a person who attempted to manipulate his wife and did so for many years. but when that stopped working and when she stood up to him, he had to remove her, and he did it in a very deliberate way. >> he's where he belongs. he has to pay for it. it doesn't bring jocelyn back. that hole in my heart will take a long time to heal. but we'll make it. we'll make it. we'll be fine.
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captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> i was 20 years old and my little sister was 16. behind the refrigerator came out a man with his pistol pointed at me. another robber was pointing a gun at my mother. gunfire started exploding. >> i arrived at the cabin, the other man pulled the trigger. that blast was so close i could feel it. >> i survived being kidnapped, along with my baby sister. i had no idea what was happening or why.,,,,,,
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more on the candidate for president. thank you for being with us. herman cain suspended his campaign. we have more from wjz, with the iowa caucuses coming up, it is a major shake up. >> it felt hike a campaign rail hey until herman cain said he is out of the race. her man cane is out of the
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race. >> i am suspending my race for president because of the continuing distraction and the continuing hurt on me and my family. >> he lost financial support after several allegations of sexual harassment and a woman that said they had a 13-year affair. >> with his wife standing by, she said she never asked him to quit. >> i saw the pain it causedd her. >> it was derailing the quick rise to the polls. >> the announcement was at the time that the home town headquarters were going to open of. -- i was going to vote for him. >> herman cain's campaign was one of ideas, this decision is what is best for him and
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physician family. >> he will be a powerful voice for years to come. >> he will continue to be a voice for the people. >> in the end, he could not withstand the pressure that a candidate for pressure has to endure. >> this decision to suspend will let him continue to raise money and he will still get federal matching funds. the former penn state football coach is speaking out about his relationships with young people. >> i say i'm not attracted to boys, that is not the truth. i'm attracted young people, boys, girls. that is part of an speaker vow from last month. >> he was arrested on 40 counts of sex a pews, that lasted 15ers. he said he just horsed around
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with boys in his care. eyewitness news found that an attorney has been hired to represent sent one of the boys. he is free on 100,000-dollars bail. >> they did not question what the accusers expressed or their motives. i am really sorry that they did that. i regret any harm that i caused. >> that is the syracuse men's football coach apologizing for the man that made the accusations against the long time assistant. he had rehaitians with three boys over the years. he was fired last woke and denied these allegations. in maryland, breaking news to wjz, a suspicious package was found near the baltimore
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and washington medical center. the police said that the hospital security found that package up outside the emergency room. that picture just in, they are there with a bomb robot and trying to determine if this is something that will extroke. -- explode. more on that selling situation on eyewitness news in the morning or tonight later in the newscast. no cause to a three alarm blaze with a building filled with seniors. it happen in the washington area of a fire that burned fast. >> over 100 people had to leave in the middle of the night. the video was shot boy neighbors and they helped save lives. >> the young man said to get out and we saw the flames going on the fourth more and that was what we saw and everybody got
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out the fire exploded in the upper floors just after 11:00 friday night and that happen near mount washington. >> the person on the scene sounded the second alarm and that fact that it was not an occupied building -- it reached three alarms before it was under control. altogether, up to 100 mainly older residents evacuated. >> my friends and i are fine. >> the construction workers were removing debris in into the evening. most people were out of the homes because of a water and smoke cage. >> some went to family members and others to holts. >> they know it could have been much worse. >> it is scary to see your home on fire. >> no injuries reported, the cause of the fire and where it
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started is still being investigated. back to you. the dollar loss from the fire has not been established yet. for the second day, the crews locked for a missing man that went missing friday afternoon after looking in an area for deer hunting. he works for the washington sewer and sanitation and they will start the search again in the morning. >> two men stabbed near the water front, the police were called to dock street right downtown for a reported fight this morning. that is where they found a 22 ear old and another boy bleeding from stab wounds. they are critical, but stable tonight. occupy l.a. may have lost their home this week, but the push for change is continuing and one of the new actions, they pictured a foreclosure auction today. they said that the crisis was
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because of big banks and that they did not get enough to help with loans. that is what is happen wing the groupd over the country. on tuesday, the occupy camps will look at protesting at for hosed home over the united states. >> if you don't listen to our call, expect your tents in our lobbies. >> in january, there will be plans to pitch a tent outside of the u.s. congress. the former democratic candidate had a serious call in front of his lie prayer. that was prior to a scheduled television appearance on friday. the 89-year-old was taken to the hospital. he ran against the president in -- president nixon as an anti- war candidate. when the president ordered almost all american troops out
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of iraq by the end of the year, it made the stay shorter for thousands of troops and that is is 140 soldiers from one group. >> on this chilly morning, it is end of the injure e is 6,000 miles long. >> the maryland national guard soldiers were told to line up. they were waiting, but after ten months away, they broke rang to said that their marching orders came from the heart. >> i could not wait until after that. >> i understand that you were supposed to wait. >> we did not care. we wanted to see each other. >> there was one for february. the president pushed this draw back by

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